Jakaiyah Franklin


Killeen, TX

Academic Interests

Global Health, Biology (specifically cellular and molecular biology), documentary studies, ethics, and public policy.

Fun Fact

My favorite movie is Avatar (the one with the blue people

Science has always had a major impact on my life. Ever since I was a little girl, I was particularly curious about the environment around me, and I wondered why everything was the way that it was. From that curiousness and wonderment came a passion for science. Throughout high school, I would always switch which concentration of science that I enjoyed the most. At first, I wanted to be a paleontologist, then a nano-technician, then an astronomer, and then a geneticist. However, throughout all of those career changes, the passion for diseases was always there, even when the others died out. Due to my school’s dual enrollment program, I was able to work in a lab in my town’s community college, and that experience helped clarify what I truly enjoyed studying. As a result, I strive to be an epidemiologist, and I am going to study Global health and biology here at Duke. Although I also want to incorporate my passion for public policy and documentary studies into my academic career because I believe all of those different subjects can be connected.

My goals here at Duke University would have to be to conduct research and document it. Luckily at Duke, there are multiple programs and organizations that will help me conduct research. As for the documenting, I am a part of multiple film clubs that will build my documenting capabilities, and it will help me understand how the different components of documentaries can change a person’s perspective. In the future, whenever I conduct research, I want to document my experience in a neutral yet captivating way so that people can easily understand my research without biases.

Outside of the classroom, I like watching movies and reading books. For both movies and books, my favorite genre would be science fiction and fantasy. Although I do love movies that are historical fiction, I really enjoy learning about viruses, and I love telling people how the different shots in movies can change the whole tone of the scene.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

​​​​​​​I like the various research opportunities that Duke provides. In addition, I like the overall attitude here at Duke. There is a push for people to be the best they can be, and the push is based on support and not competition. Duke is based on collaboration, and I believe that is more beneficial than a competitive environment. This is actually one reason why I truly like SPIRE because I can work with people who share the same passion for STEM as I do.

Jakaiyah Franklin
Jakaiyah Franklin